With her 13 year old Sudan, an imported Hannoverian gelding by Salut, out of Landraetin by Landrat, Sherry van't Riet traveled from California to the hallowed halls of the USET headquarters in Gladstone for their first trip east to compete in the Intermediare Championships at the Bayer/USET Festival of Champions.
"Gladstone is just beautiful. The setting is gorgeous, with the greenery and forest all around. I've been in New Jersey on business several times in the past years, but never was able to get out into the beautiful countryside. The Team headquarters are spectacular, with the impressive building and two-story stables. Even with the golf course cutting the property into pieces, it's still more than impressive."
Sherry van't Riet and Sudan were 14th on the final ranking list of horses qualified for the Bayer/USET Festival of Dressage Championships, but the fact that she got there by moving up as others ahead of her could not ride is just fine with her.
"I was thrilled to get to the Finals with Sudan. I knew we were close to the cut-off and the suspense just kept building, with the final two selection trials the weekend before we would have to leave if we got in. My husband and I were on the PC constantly, trying to get the show results to see where we were. I decided long ago that if we were invited, we would go, even though I knew we wouldn't win the championship...this time. I t's an honor just to make it there and I'm very proud to be 11th in the nation."
van't Riet keeps her horses at home and does all the riding and care, with her husband Adriaan's help. "I've been riding in clinics with Dennis Callin for the past year and a half, which has really pulled us up. Adriaan has been working on developing into our "eyes on the ground," which is great, too. Unfortunately, he couldn't come with us to Gladstone, so Sudan and I were on our own. I was owner, rider, trainer, groom, braider, massuese, etc., so I missed most of the other Grand Prix rides, but I was able to watch the Intermediare I Championship rides."
"The highlight of our competitive year 2001 was going to Gladstone. Gladstone was a great experience and gave me a better understanding of what Sudan and I need to do. We're hoping to go again next year and do better. Our best show this year was the CDI/Selection Trial at Golden State Dressage near Sacramento, CA, where we had a terrific panel and good rides. I was also really pleased with our rides at Del Mar."
van't Riet, a registered securities rep and licensed insurance agent, bought Sudan in 1992 when he was four years old. In 1993, they won the CDS Futurity, and went on up through the levels from there. Although Sudan had been ridden, he'd never been shown and van't Riet has done all the training and showing on her own with the help of such trainers along the way as the late Hubert Rohrer and Betsy Steiner. "He was such a spook when I bought him that no one else had wanted him. Lucky me! He has turned into the sweetest, most willing horse. He's a joy to be around and on."